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Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century Hardcover – May 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807833274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807833278
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A tremendous contribution to several bodies of literature.--Reviews in American History

Deutsch convincingly shows how the creation of the supermarket was a highly contingent, negotiated, social and political process; not inevitable and not easily explained as a result of consumer demand or consumer satisfaction.--American Studies

A meticulously researched study that delivers vast quantities of data. . . . Deutsch argues forcefully that retail history warrants close attention. . . . Recommended.--Choice

Tracey Deutsch's well-written and impeccably researched book is a major contribution to studies of mass retailing and the politics of mass consumption . . . . [Her] richly detailed and rigorously analyzed study will find an appreciative audience among historians of gender, business, labor, and consumer culture.--American Historical Review

[Deutsch's] work makes a significant contribution to the growing historiography of consumer politics. . . . Deutsch demonstrates the central role that gender played in the rise of supermarkets.--Journal of American History

Paints a picture of stores alive with social interactions and struggles that often contradict the standardized model supermarkets are known for.--University of Chicago Magazine

[This] book causes readers to look more closely at one of the most important consumer experiences of the twentieth century.--The Historian

[A] vivid social history--Enterprise & Society


It seems amazing that no one had yet written about this ubiquitous feature of American physical and economic landscapes. Deutsch's argument about the rise of supermarkets is important because it avoids the sense of inevitability that sometimes surrounds contemporary public debates about corporate concentration and urban sprawl in the era of Wal-Mart. The narrative she presents is not a triumphant one, nor one in which smaller groceries are necessarily victims of corporate power and a 'bigger is better' mentality. Rather, she shows a) the contests over, and even failings of, smaller stores as a driver for supermarkets, rather than a result of them; b) the historical specificity of the time (and places) in which they emerged; and c) the negotiations between historical agents, ranging from the federal government to individual shoppers, who were involved in supermarket planning. This is still a story about power, economic, politics, and of course food procurement, but it is a nuanced and sensitive story, told in a measured way.--Marina Moskowitz, University of Glasgow

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Great book. Very interesting. Read it for my women and gender studies course. I never thought I would be so interested in the history of grocery stores.
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Building a Housewife's Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century
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